Video and parody ad contest are latest initiatives in grassroots effort that has overshadowed oil giant's new "We Agree" ad campaign
Amazon Watch, Rainforest Action Network, The Yes Men
17 November 2010 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
With today's release of hilarious high-profile parody video from Will Ferrell's online comedy powerhouse FunnyorDie.com, human rights and environmental organizations Amazon Watch, Rainforest Action Newtwork, and The Yes Men have unveiled the latest chapter in a national grassroots media campaign that has overshadowed oil giant Chevron's new multi-million dollar PR effort.
The late October launch of Chevron's new 'We Agree' campaign was pre-empted by a hoax announcement and a spoof website with a slate of ads that satirized the company's campaign, calling attention to the oil giant's dirty operations. Media outlets analyzed the hoax campaign, noting its bold admissions about Chevron's legacy of environmental and human rights abuses in places like Ecuador. Chevron scrambled to disavow the parody ads and threatened legal action, though organizations supporting the media counter-campaign haven't heard from Chevron lawyers on the matter. In the wake of the launch, the organizations behind the high-profile counter-campaign, Rainforest Action Network, Amazon Watch, and media pranksters The Yes Men, published a website at www.ChevronThinksWereStupid.org, announced a contest for best parodies of Chevron's print ads and TV commercials, and partnered with Funny or Die to produce a mock television commercial that received tens of thousands of views in a few days.
The focus has turned from the multi-million dollar Ad blitz to Chevron's multi-billion dollar pollution responsibility in Ecuador; a primary issue the ads seem designed to gloss over. Supporters of the counter-campaign have submitted over 180 print ads, as well as video parodies of chevron's 'We Agree' television commercials. See the entries at www.ChevronThinksWereStupid.org The contest ends on Thursday, Nov. 18th. Winning print ads will be printed and distributed for public display by grassroots supporters across the country, while the winning video will land on the homepage of www.FunnyorDie.com
Plans for Chevron's 'We Agree' ads were brought to the attention of environmental and human rights organizations Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network by couple environmental writers and artists whom PR agencies working for Chevron attempted to recruit to collaborate in the PR campaign.
Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Watch work in support of the communities in Ecuador's rainforest suffering the effects of Chevron's toxic legacy of oil pollution. They are plaintiffs in a monumental class action demanding that the California-based company clean up its contamination in Ecuador and compensate residents for decades of damages. The Yes Men, who designed the hoax that pre-empted Chevron's ad campaign, are high-profile corporate crime-fighting media pranksters whose inventive use of media and "identity correction" spotlights corporate greed, deception, and abuse.
Comments from the organizations behind www.ChevronThinksWereStupid.org:
Han Shan, Amazon Watch, Clean Up Ecuador Campaign Coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org, (917) 740-7426
"One of Chevron's new 'We Agree' ads says 'oil companies need to get real.' Chevron needs to get real about cleaning up its toxic legacy in Ecuador and stop wasting money on advertising that everyone agrees would be insulting if it wasn't so laughable."
Maria Ramos, Rainforest Action Network, Change Chevron Campaign Director
email@example.com, (415) 659-0520
"Rather than accept that it must clean up its toxic practices in Richmond, California, Ecuador and around the world, Chevron is pouring millions of dollars into slick advertising and political campaigns to convince people and politicians to look the other way."
Emergildo Criollo, leader of Cofan people in Ecuadorean Amazon
Contact via Han Shan/Amazon Watch
"Chevron says 'oil companies should support communities they're a part of.' Well, it's been 45 years, and all we have is contamination and sickness. And now, we don't want their support– we want a clean up. That's why we have had to take the company to court, because they refuse to take responsibility for their devastating impact on our communities."
Andy Bichlbaum, The Yes Men
firstname.lastname@example.org, (718) 208-0684
"They laughed the Soviet Union into the ground. All of us can do the same for Chevron."